“But Samuel replied: ‘Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of the rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.’”
1 Samuel 15:22-23 (NIV)
Samuel carries a message to King Saul. This message is at least two-fold. The prophet relates that obedience is better than sacrifice.
This comes across that God does not want any gifts from His people; rather, He wants His people to obey His direction and His Word. Samuel compares the people’s heeding to being better than any offering they can give.
The second part of this message speaks of rebellion against God being on the same level as seeking knowledge of the future—a pagan counterpart of prophecy. 2. Samuel also equates thinking too highly of oneself equal to idolatry-paying divine honor to any created thing.3
What does this mean to us who live in the 21st Century? We see actions taken and deeds done that are not according to God’s word or His direction. We see people choosing to honor ‘things’ rather than God. We hear of people taking lives, for no reason. We also read of others who set themselves above others just because it is their choice.
We need to approach God’s throne and beg His forgiveness for these sins by our society. Moreover, we need to learn to practice obedience.
2. The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Moody Press, Chicago, revised 1988, page 313
3. Op. Cit., page 602